Oxfordshire smokers urged to be quitters on No Smoking Day

While studies show that two-thirds of smokers want to quit (1), nearly one in five UK adults continue to smoke, including 13.6 per cent in Oxfordshire (2).

But there is help available to those who want to quit and the public health department at Oxfordshire County Council is urging people to take up the challenge this week and be ‘Proud to be a Quitter’.

Cllr Hilary Hibbert-Biles, the Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “In life we’re told never to give up – but when it comes to smoking, being a ‘quitter’ is a good thing. Smoking increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions. Some may be fatal and others can cause irreversible long-term damage to your health.”

Solutions 4 Health, the experts employed by Oxfordshire County Council to provide stop smoking services in the county, are gearing up to take the message out to people with themed clinics and special give-aways.

Naseem Mushtaq, Health Improvement Manager, Smokefreelife Oxfordshire, said: “We understand that the majority of smokers want to stop, but many find the task too daunting. However, with support from our Smokefreelife Oxfordshire service, smokers are more likely to succeed and that’s why we will be out in force on No Smoking Day, educating people about the range of help available to them.”

One person who made good use of Smokefreelife Oxfordshire is 68-year-old Ron Clements, from Witney. A smoker since the age of 14, Mr Clements spotted the eye-catching combination of Smokefreelife Oxfordshire’s mobile clinic and friendly advisor in Witney’s market square, just one day after suffering a stroke.

“I enjoyed smoking and I started because my friends were doing it, but I have poor health and I’m trying to take action to become healthier. The weekly support from the advisor, together with the patches and chewing gum has helped me to quit and I am already feeling the benefits after only 12 weeks smoke free,” he said.

Local people can contact the SmokeFreeLife Oxfordshire Team directly on 01865 238 036 or email info@smokefreelifeoxfordshire.co.uk for support and the best chance of giving up for good. Help is also available through your GP practice and at your local pharmacy.

The annual No Smoking Day campaign is run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and encourages hundreds of thousands of smokers to make a quit attempt on No Smoking Day.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: “Giving up smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health, and that’s why the British Heart Foundation runs No Smoking Day. We’re encouraging smokers to mark Wednesday 9 March in their calendars, and take the first step towards a smoke-free life.”

To receive information and support on stopping smoking visit nosmokingday.org.uk and join the conversation of Twitter using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay.
Notes to editors:
1. Statistics from ASH fact sheet. Facts at a glance – smoking statistics. April 2014.
2. Estimated local smoking prevalence based on ONS Integrated Household Survey
Smokefreelife Oxfordshire Clinics will be running at the following venues during the week:
Monday 7th March  Tuesday 8th of March  Weds 9th of March
Templars Square (Erika) 9-5pm Templars Square (Erika) 9-5pm Templars Square (James) 9-5pm
Castle Quay (Richard) 9-5pm Castle Quay (Richard) 9-5pm Castle Quay (Richard) with the Oral Health Promotion Unit 9-5pm
Chipping Norton (Matthew) 10-4pm  Witney Market (Matthew) 10-4pm Abingdon Market (Zafar) 10-4pm
John Radcliffe (James) 9.30-5pm  Abingdon College Health Day (Zafar) Witney College No Smoking Day (Matthew) 10-5pm

About No Smoking Day
No Smoking Day merged with the British Heart Foundation in 2011. The annual No Smoking Day campaign, which is now in its 33rd year, inspires and helps smokers who want to quit, and is supported by an alliance of UK health bodies and charities. For more information about the No Smoking Day campaign, visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk
About the British Heart Foundation
Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. For more information on the BHF, visit www.bhf.org.uk